TALK OF GETTING the Guthrie Theater to consider relocating downtown keeps burbling up--most recently when Park Board Commissioner Walt Dziedzic said he'd rather see the Guthrie build on the still-fallow Block E than on Park Board land closer to its current home. The topic engendered considerable discussion on the Mpls-Issues newsgroup, prompting City Council member Lisa McDonald to note that "the Guthrie folks made it absolutely clear early on in the debate that their patrons wouldn't come downtown to Block E." Anxious to know just what kind of Sodom theatergoers envisioned at Fifth and Hennepin, Off Beat checked with Guthrie managing director David Hawkanson. "The audience never told us they didn't want us downtown," says Hawkanson, referring to a survey of patrons taken last year. "They would just prefer we stay in the neighborhood we are now." The Guthrie has steadily maintained that the Parade Stadium ball fields just across the street from the current theater are their favorite location. The Fawkes Block, home to the Loring Bar and Cafe, "has been offered to us, but it's problematic. There are a lot of community issues involved," Hawkanson says, suggesting that the Guthrie is in no hurry to wrestle with neighbors about bulldozing beloved bistros. Guthrie officials have said they want to be in a new theater space by the 2003 season.
And Not in St. Paul Either...
Meanwhile, from the other side of the river, mayoral spokesman Mike Zipko tells Off Beat not to believe everything we read on the Internet: Contrary to another Mpls-Issues poster's claims, Norm Coleman "is not pursuing the Guthrie Theater," Zipko says. "With the Science Museum under way, the Harriet Island reconstruction under way, efforts to see if we can put a ballpark downtown...our plate is very full right now." Okay, then. Of course, if that Twins deal falls through...
Sound of Blackness?
Last Thursday found Off Beat frantically fiddling with the controls on its radio, trying to figure out what Spike Moss was saying under his breath. Moss was on Minnesota Public Radio's Midmorning to discuss charges of racial bias he and other Black Leadership Summit members have leveled against the Twin Cities dailies' investigations of the University of Minnesota basketball program. Toward the end of the show, host Katherine Lanpher took a call from "Marie in St. Paul," who said that "as an African-American woman" she was concerned that female students accusing athletes of sexual misconduct were not being taken seriously. "It's not always racism when someone says, hey, you're not doing the right thing," she argued. Moss said something inaudible, and Lanpher interjected, "Spike Moss, we're at a disadvantage because we're in radio, but do you want to respond to her?" Mystified, Off Beat turned up the volume, and the next time "Marie" talked, Moss could be heard saying, "She's not black. She just used that. She's not African-American." The exchange grew heated as Marie replied, "I'm not African-American? Born and bred in Detroit, Michigan, sir, can name anyone that you want to name working in the civil-rights struggle 35 years ago. If you want me to talk in a way that you would see as African-American, all you're doing is adding to the stereotypes." There was a pause, and Lanpher said, "We're going to move on to Kathleen in Minneapolis." Moss tells Off Beat his comment stemmed from his experience as a host of Voices of the African American Community on KMOJ (89.9 FM): "She wanted to make it look like she was black and she feels this way too. They--white people--do that a lot. She was calling in, playing games, and I responded." According to MPR producers, Marie is a regular caller, but they don't know her last name. Amelio Garcia-Ruiz, a Saint Paul Pioneer Press senior editor who also appeared on Lanpher's show, says Marie called him after the broadcast, but he didn't get her name or know how to reach her either.
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